Whatever their artistic merit, theatrical comic dramas concerning "families in crisis" tend to follow a recognizable formula. Strand estranged family members in a confined space, unearth a lifetime's worth of buried grievances, and let the cathartic chaos lead to a renewed bond. With Stick Fly, though, the seemingly stock scenario is made into something far more layered thanks to an exceptionally insightful script by Lydia Diamond which provocatively challenges popular assumptions of race, class, and gender. The economically prosperous African American family of Stick Fly has gathered for a weekend in the wealthy environs of Martha's Vineyard. At least, the patriarch and two sons are present. For reasons not yet revealed, mom is nowhere to be found. Joining the two sons are their respective dates: an African American woman from a lower class background and a white woman of moneyed means. The conflict between the two women is only the first skirmish in a work that consistently questions the legitimacy of cultural identities. For all the work's underlying themes, however, Stick Fly puts the characters first, depicting believably dynamic personalities that defy archetypes. Under the directorial reigns of Tony-nominated director Marion McClinton and featuring a top-notch cast, the familial strife promises to take on a life of its own, exposing the fault lines beneath our own happy homes.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: April 26. Continues through May 19, 2013